The parish church of central Finchley
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Posted April 19th, 2024

Celebrating St George’s Day

flag cross st george

For the Irish, St. Patrick’s Day is “a great day” for celebration. The Welsh honour their patron Saint, David in traditional musical style and the Scots mark the feast of St. Andrew with much merriment and whisky.

But how will the English celebrate their patron saint of St George on April 23?

One thing, I know for certain – it will be richly commemorated in the Bard’s birthplace this weekend.

Stratford Upon Avon will be awash with flags and flowers as people from all nations gather to celebrate the birthdays of St. George and the “Bard of Stratford Upon Avon”, William Shakespeare.

Dignitaries from far and wide will line up with members of the Royal Shakespeare Company, clad in regal costumes honouring the Bard’s plays. Once the parade reaches the main street, flags from all nations will be unfurled.

Marching bands will then lead the multi-nation procession through the town to the Parish Church of Holy Trinity. Everyone is invited to join the procession led by marching bands. Participants are invited to carry posies of spring flowers to be ceremoniously laid at the Bard’s tomb alongside the altar.

This tradition has been much enjoyed through the years by members of my family and friends from our own parish church.

One year, a group of us met the then Prince Charles as he was leaving the church with his wife, Camilla. He chatted amicably with us wanting to know if we had taken part in the morning parade, which of course we had.  Camilla was constantly trying to hurry him along, but he paid no heed and carried on chatting. Somewhere “among my souvenirs “, I have a photograph marking the event.

Members of the flower team will honour England’s Patron Saint this weekend with beautifully rich red roses, the floral symbol of St. George.

— Lynn Radnedge